Climate change impacts are happening now. In Australia, average temperatures have risen by just 1°C since 1910, and already it is having a profound impact on our climate system, our environment, economy and society. We have had the hottest 14 years on record in the past 15 years; and we have had record breaking heatwaves, fires, floods, and cyclones.
People affected by poverty and disadvantage are often the first and hardest hit by the impacts of a changing climate and have the least capacity to cope, adapt and recover. For example, heatwaves kill more Australians than any other natural disaster, and key risk factors for heat-related health impacts are often twice as prevalent for people on low incomes, contrasting to those on medium to high incomes.
Greater attention must be paid to climate adaptation, resilience and emergency response for both vulnerable people and community sector organisations who play a significant role in supporting vulnerable people during extreme weather events.
If not addressed, this will lead to significant social justice issues and increase pressure on the need for financial and services support.
ACOSS is working with the community sector to advocate for policies to support people experiencing poverty and disadvantage to better adapt, cope and recover.
ACOSS is also working on tools and policies to improve the resilience of community sector organisations to better be able to support vulnerable people and communities.
Resilient Community Organisations Toolkit
The Resilient Community Organisations toolkit has been developed by and for the community sector to help organisations measure and improve their resilience to disasters and emergencies.
The Toolkit includes:
- A benchmarking system so organisations can assess their current state of preparedness for disasters and emergencies and identify areas of improvement.
- Six Steps to Disaster Resilience, which provides information and resources organisations need to take action.
Adapting the Community Sector for Climate Extremes
In 2013 ACOSS published world-first research into the Australian community sector’s vulnerability to extreme weather events and its ability to support people and communities to prepare for, respond to and recover from extreme weather events.
The report identified of the barriers faced by community organisations and made a range of recommendations to overcome these barriers and improve the resilience of community organisations in order to help disadvantaged people cope, and recover from, climate extremes. Read the full report here
Climate resilience key policy priorities
In our submission to the Federal Governments 2017 Climate Change Review, ACOSS outlined a range of policy measures needed to assist people and community organisations to become more resilient to climate change impacts.
See chapter 9 of our submission for recommendations.
Other Climate & Energy pages